CDC’s Adolescent and School Health Work Improves Health and Saves Money

CDC's Adolescent and School Health Work Improves Lives and Saves Money

U.S. high school-aged students:

  • In 2019, U.S. high school-aged students:
    • 38 percent report having ever had sex
    • One-quarter of all chlamydia cases – and 4 percent of new HIV infections – occurred among youth aged 13-19 in 2017
    • Nearly 1 in 5 report being bullied at school
    • Lesbian, gay, or bisexual students are twice as likely to be bullied and more likely to have experienced violence
    • 1 in 7 report misusing prescription opioids, which can lead to overdose, injection drug use, and increased risk for HIV and viral hepatitis

    IN THE U.S., SCHOOLS HAVE A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY FOR POPULATION-LEVEL IMPACT THROUGH THEIR DIRECT CONTACT WITH MILLIONS OF STUDENTS

    CDC’S ADOLESCENT AND SCHOOL HEALTH WORK IMPROVES HEALTH:

    • Quality HIV and STD prevention education helps youth make healthier choices.
      • From 2015 to 2019, schools within CDC-funded local education agencies saw statistically significant declines in the percentage of students who ever had sex (from 40.8% to 38.4%).
    • Youth are less likely to receive recommended preventive health services than adults and often face unique barriers to accessing sexual health services.
      • From 2014-2018, CDC funded districts made more than 65,000 referrals to youth-friendly providers for key health services.
    • Helping young people feel engaged and cared for at home and at school — also called connectedness — may have substantial health benefits that last well beyond their teenage years.
      • In one CDC study, higher levels of teen connectedness were associated with as much as a 66% lower risk in areas of mental health, violence, sexual risks, and substance use.

    CDC’S ADOLESCENT AND SCHOOL HEALTH WORK SAVES MONEY:

    • CDC-funded programs prevent risk for HIV and other STDs for less than $10 per student
    • CDC funding connects nearly 8% of the 26 million middle and high school students nationwide to quality health education, health services, and safe and supportive school environments
      • From 2014-2018, funded local education agencies increased the proportion of schools that implemented quality sexual health education programs from 61 percent to 88 percent in middle schools and from 83 percent to 93 percent in high schools.
    • School-based HIV/STD prevention programs are cost-effective.

    One study found that $1 invested in school-based HIV & STD prevention efforts saved $2.65 in medical and social costs.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

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Page last reviewed: October 1, 2021